BetCo May/June 2018 Newsletter

Hello ,

Summer is around the corner, and we have just the right activities for you and your dog! Brush up on your dog's manners in public with one of our behavior classes, start or continue K9 Nose Work® or join our summer workshops listed below!

Monthly Training Tip at the end of this newsletter:
Camping with your dog!

Short overview of our upcoming events and classes (more details are further below):

Upcoming Events:

The Better Companion has added some special events again this year (by popular request) that you might want to sign up for and add to your calendar now:

- Canine First Aid on Saturday, May 5,  
Shy Dog Workshop on Saturday, June 9,
- Feisty Fido Workshop on Saturday, June 16,
- Agility - Go Weave! on Saturday, July 14.

- Responsible Dog Ownership-Day on Saturday, September 8, 2018 - mark your calendars!

Read more about these events below!


All basic behavior classes are offered starting every month: Puppy 1 - Preschool, Puppy 2 - Kindergarten, Foundation Class and Grade School.

May specials:

K9 Nose Work® Beginners and Intro to Odor on Sundays and Nose Work Practices on Tuesdays, now possibly field trips!

CGC® - Prep School works on your dog's manners in public, preparing them to become a Canine Good Citizen. You have the choice of taking a test one week after the class (separate fee) to see where you and your dog are standing with your training.

June specials:

This month we focus on some of our summer workshops - check out our events below!

Preview for July/August:

Coming up are Junior High, Rally College, Treibball and Trick Dog classes!

All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.

Enjoy life with your better companion,


1) Upcoming events:

Canine First Aid course:

Date: Saturday, May 5th
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (end time approximate)

This workshop is offered by
Smiling Dogs Alaska, held at our facility.

This will be the last opportunity at BetCo before the summer to learn how to help your dog in distress, at home or on your outings. It can be vital for your dog that you know how to help until your pet can be seen by a veterinarian.

Sign up not available on our website - please click
HERE. You'll first fill out your information, then choose a date to attend.

BetCo clients: call us and ask about a discount code offered to BetCo clients only!!!

Shy Dog Workshop:

This 4-hour workshop is offered once a year.

Date: Saturday, June 9, 2018
Time: 2 - 6 PM

Is your dog a candidate? Would you like your dog to warm up to strangers, or even family members, faster? Then this is for you! This workshop is for dogs that are timid and insecure around people, mostly strangers. They prefer to keep their distance from people and when asked to come closer, they get nervous and often rather want to go further away. Some will bark at a stranger that is too close. Dogs should be okay in a strange environment and not too stressed to eat treats when brought into the building. This workshop is also an excellent practice opportunity for shy dogs after a private lesson.

Is this workshop for you? In this workshop we'll explain and practice exercises that will help your dog to overcome their fear of people and talk about common mistakes that can make it worse. If you have a family member or friend who you'd like to be better accepted by your dog, this workshop is for you! Have a caretaker that needs to be able to handle your dog while you're gone? We often don't get to the dog actually being touched or patted by strangers, but being more curious and thinking more positive about strangers rather than being afraid of them. As you use these exercises at home, you'll see continuous improvement!

You can also decide to come without your dog and learn lots by observing all the other dog/handler teams. We'll have 6 working spots (1-2 handlers with their dogs) and 6 auditing spots (people without their dog)

Feisty Fido Workshop:

This one-day workshop is offered once a year.

Date: Saturday, June 16, 2018
Time: 10 AM - 5 PM (1/2-1 hour lunch break)

Is your dog a candidate? This workshop is for dogs that lunge and bark at other dogs when they see them, either out of fear or frustration. They can sound pretty vicious or be rather quiet about it, but they don't know how to behave socially correctly towards other dogs. Often they have specific dog friends they get along fine with, but might still bark at all, some or only specific other dogs. This workshop is also an excellent practice opportunity for reactive dogs after a private lesson.

Is this workshop for you? In this workshop we'll explain and practice exercises that will help your dog to cope better with the sight of other dogs. We won't allow direct contact between any dogs and they won't have an opportunity to play. We'll keep a good distance at all times to keep the exercises successful. If the situation is set up correctly, your dog should learn to focus more on you than on the other dog and accept the presence of another dog. We'll also practice what to do in emergency situations that would usually put your dog over threshold.

You can also decide to come without your dog and learn by observing the other dog/handler teams. We'll have
6 working spots (1 handler with their dog) and 6 auditing spots (people without their dog or extra people of the family)

Agility - Go Weave! Workshop:

Date: Saturday, May 5th
Time: 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM (end time approximate)

Improving your dog's understanding of weaving and learning new individual approaches on how to teach the weaves. Bring your own weaves to this workshop! We'll be able to work the dogs more simultaneously, if we have more sets of weaves available to share.

For all our agility students, as long as you took at least one Beginner or Puppy Agility class with us. Dogs should be 1 year or older to be able to learn all the approaches we introduce. If your dog is younger, you might have to skip some of the techniques and practice approaches that are appropriate instead.

Maximum 6 working spots, but we could add another workshop on the same day in the morning if the demand is there.

Responsible Dog Ownership-Day

Celebrating the journey of dog training with our clients! Save the date! Mark your calendar!

Date: Saturday, September 8, 2018
Time: 10 AM - 4 PM

Call for vendors and demos! Free booth space, indoors and outside!
Contact us to reserve your booth space! Have something you'd like to show? Tell us about your demo for about 15-20 minutes.

2) Sports classes:

K9 Nose Work® (Sundays and Tuesdays):

A fun dog sport and game for indoors and outside! No prerequisite (only our regular health requirements), dogs of any age, size, fitness and energy level, even timid or mildly dog-reactive dogs can join this sport! Allowing our dogs to use their most basic instincts and channeling this activity into a sport has been the fastest growing movement in the dog world! Forget the rabbit, find the odor swab! Search games are low-arousal but can still be high energy games, which makes them perfect exercising activities for our dogs.

1) K9 NW® Beginners and K9 NW® Intro to Odor  start Sunday, May 6.
2) Nose Work Practices start again Tuesday, May 8, with possible field trips as well as practices at BetCo.

Agility classes (Saturdays):

We added a couple practices and one workshop for you, to bridge the time until the next set of classes starts!

1) Agility Practices on Saturday, July 14 and August 11 (NADAC trial on August 18/19!)
2) Agility - Go Weave Workshop on Saturday, July 14.
2) September classes and practices (all levels) start Saturday, September 15th.

Punch card options: Besides using our Sports Punch Cards for the Agility Practices, they can also be used for class students to repeat a level when you already know you'd miss two or more of the sessions. We'll always try to fill a class with full class payments first, then any spots still available (if any) can be used on a punch card basis. You can purchase a credit for a single 1-hr session or a punch card with three or six credits (for three or six 1-hr sessions). Your credits will be good for three years.

Other dog sports (Thursdays):

Trick Dog and Treibball classes will continue in August - check with us or better, email us your wishes! Which sport would you like to start or continue?

Trick Dog: Earn a real title for your dog while at class! Our instructor Ella-Kate can most likely sign your dog off as a Novice Trick Dog by the end of the Beginner class. She's an official Trick Dog instructor with Do More With Your Dog (DMWYD) and the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Treibball: Teach your dog to listen to you at a distance, while having fun pushing balls around! This class also works a lot on impulse control - great for all dogs!

Trick Dog and/or Treibball for Beginner and/or Intermediate starts Thursday, August 16. We'll add these classes to the calendar as soon as we got YOUR INPUT!
3) Manners classes

Starting your dog:

Puppy 1 - Preschool: for
Puppies 2-5 months old; followed by Puppy 2 - Kindergarten.
Foundation Class: for dogs 6 months and older
The first
week of these two classes only is without your dog, to give the handler/owner a head start! All other classes start with the dog.
Package Deals: bundle two or more classes for a great discount! You learn valuable lessons and your dog gets the best possible start. Get your package first, then use the purchased class credit to sign up for a specific class.

Classes start every month, switching dates and times each month to accommodate your schedule as best we can! We offer Sunday afternoon, Monday morning, and Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening classes.

Don't miss this link: Grade School

For all Puppy 2 - Kindergarten and Foundation Class graduates
Grade School applies all the learned techniques from P1, P2 and FC to valuable exercises, improving your handling skills and your dog's behavior through more practice with controlled but increasing distractions. Your dog will amaze you!

This is the link that prepares you for all higher level classes! After Grade School you're ready to venture on into different obedience directions: Junior High, CGC-Prep Class or CLASS-BA Course. You're also well prepared to take any sports class!

Grade School
can be repeated at any time for more practice, even if you have already taken higher level classes.

Classes start every month, switching between Sunday afternoons, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  

Beyond the basics: Keep going with obedience and manners

Junior High School takes you into the specific skills of the obedience needed for the sport of Rally: Teach your dog to "Finish", "Front", "Swing" or "Get In", increase hind end awareness through some trick training. Also learn how to manage and conquer emergency situations out on your walks, like a loose dog coming towards you and practice manners while meeting other people with their dogs on leash.

Rally College is a fun way of heel work and bonding with your dog. You'll run a different Rally course every week while learning new exercises used in the obedience sport of Rally, all connected through a heeling pattern.

CGC-Prep Class practices manners in public through games and role-play, to prepare you and your dog for the Canine Good Citizen®-test. You can join the class with or without this test in mind. The test is usually held shortly after the end of the class. You might find other test sites in Alaska on the AKC's web page.

1) CGC-Prep Class, starts Wednesday, May 9.
2) Junior High and Rally College, start Wednesday, July 18.

Here's what one of our clients had to say after taking Puppy 1 - Preschool:
"[The greatest benefit from this class is] to learn positive training at the moment of activity. [I liked most about the training program the] target training [and] puppy playtime. [The most interesting exercise of the whole course was] loose lead training, learning to distract instead of discipline. [I like] being able to recall the puppy with target training" Brian & Alicia with Reagan, Puppy 1 - Preschool

Read more testimonies HERE!

Monthly Training Tip:

Camping With Your Dog  

This might be helpful for any outing with your dog, no matter if you overnight somewhere or not. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking of driving with my dogs to a dog park, to a hiking trail, taking the dogs with the tent or camper, or staying over night in a motel or hotel. This article will cover:

1) How to prepare
2) When you get there
3) While you're there
4) Where to get more practice

1) How To Prepare

Know the rules:

Wherever you are going, get information about any rules! Are dogs allowed where you want to walk them or stay overnight? What are the rules about having your dog on leash (and others with their dogs, too)? Do you need to pay extra for your dog, possibly more for each dog?  

What to pack:

Will there be water available for the dog on your walks (creeks, lakes ...) or will you need to carry a traveling dish and water for your dog? What treats do you want to use and where will you carry them? In your pockets or an extra pouch? Where will your dog be confined while you're there - checking out the trail head, paying any fees, staying over night ... Would your dog benefit from a crate in the car or will a seat belt be sufficient?

Do you need a bear bell for your dog besides the bear spray for you? Is it getting dark at night and you want to illuminate your dog with a light or reflective collar? Maybe just for letting your dog go potty in the middle of the night if needed.

Can you keep your dog out of the heat at the destination? Maybe bring extra tarps and strings to tarp off the car or confinement area for the dog? How will your dog be confined when outside at the destination (camping spot, picnic area, porch of the motel ...)? Do you need a chain or cable tether, a different leash or long line, a different harness or collar for the dog? Will you need a stake for the ground or can you wrap the tether around a sturdy post?

Will your dog be warm enough if it's rather chilly? Pack extra coats for your dog, blankets to wrap your little one with when on your lap (my Jack Russell LOVED that!) or on the ground. Maybe an insulation pad for your dog, to keep them warm from underneath? Will your dog sleep in the tent with you? Is there room for your dog on your pad and in your sleeping bag, or do you need something extra for them?

Where will your dog stay and not bark too much, especially at night? Do you have a Plan B? Hotel room or vehicle, tent or car, RV or outside?  

Do you have a knife and a medical kit for emergencies with you?  

Here are some really good resources of how to prepare and what to pack when going on outings with your dog:

2) When You Get There

Leave your dog in the vehicle and check everything out first. Pay fees if applicable, check the board for any new information, e.g. bear sightings in the area, look around for other trail users and any potential dogs, on or off-leash, maybe talk to them about friendliness and control of your and their dog and decide where and how your dog will be confined the safest and best, while you're at the trail head, campground or motel.

Prepare before letting your dog out: For going on a hike, get yourself ready first (jacket, backpack, water, food ...), then get everything ready for your dog. Get treats, water, harness, bear bell, leash, doggy back pack? For staying at a camp site or motel, prepare the confinement where your dog will stay, e.g. screw a stake into the ground, attach a tether or set up the tarp and crate to keep your dog out of the weather (sun and rain).

When taking out your dog: Check the environment for potential problems, e.g. kids running around, loose dogs near-by, or vehicles moving that don't see you (big RVs).

3) While You Are There

Be proactive: Always be aware of your environment, near and far. You might have that lovely dog that can't harm a fly and only wants to play, but others might not be so lucky. They still want to have adventures with their dog, just like you do, but they do need a little extra space.

Be considerate: Not all people love to be greeted by our dogs (weird - I know!), some have fears or are allergic to dogs. When seeing other people, call your dog to you first and ask them if it's okay that your dog comes up to them, otherwise keep your dog close by and walk on. The same should be in place for people with dogs.

Be safe: Practice calling your dog to you away from any distraction, e.g. a jogger, person with a stroller, or bicyclist. They will appreciate this gesture and you'll prepare yourself for needing to call your dog to you, away from potential hazards like cars, porcupines, bear or moose!

4) Where To Get More Practice

1) Life! Whenever you are outside with your dog, it's practice time!

Have your dog wear a back pack on your stroll through the subdivision or at Home Depot, practice the recall on and off-leash as much as possible and make sure all experiences your dog makes out there are pleasant ones, without being overwhelmed or overly stressed.

2) Some of our classes and workshops will be helpful in preparing for summer outings:

- Grade School: We practice all the skills you learned in either Puppy 1 + 2 or Foundation Class, including leash walking, recall with distractions and stays. We also practice focus and other bonding exercises that will be supportive.

- CGC-Prep Class: This class aims towards a Canine Good Citizen®, which is a program through the AKC (American Kennel Club). The AKC has developed the CGC®-test, which evaluates a handler/dog team in 10 everyday situations. We'll offer the test separately after the class is finished.

- CLASS-BA Course: Practicing Canine Life And Social Skills® as laid out by the APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers) also includes focus, recall, stays, meeting people and loose leash walking. Here we improve our skills and reduce the treat feeding during the exercises.

- Shy Dog Workshop: How to help your dog make friends faster and not be so stressed around strangers.

- Feisty Fido Workshop:  Exercises to help your dog relax when encountering other dogs and emergency tools for when other dogs come too close too fast.

- Canine First Aid Course: How to help your dog when in a medical emergency out and about! You'll receive a little first aid kit and learn what are the most important gadgets to bring along when going for a hike.
Enjoy the Journey of Dog Training!

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The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States

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